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  • Writer's picturePatti McWhorter

Obsessed with Cuffs

I admit that I am a bit obsessed with cuff bracelets of all kinds. That obsession feeds into the current “stacking” trend of many small bracelets or just a variety of cuffs and singles. From Memory wire to elastic, seed beads, bead embroidery, and beaded channel cuffs - I love them all. I’m going to explore all of these options in the blog posts to come, beginning with Memory wire.

Memory wire, one of the most versatile ways to design a bracelet, makes it easy to design without worrying about a custom fit, as it will fit all wrist sizes. This same wire can be used to create a cuff design, which opens up a world of possibilities. It has the additional benefit of not aging and breaking, as elastic can do after many wearings. I have converted a number of my elastic bracelets into Memory wire cuffs by adding a few coordinating beads here and there.

I have experimented with so many different options for Memory wire bracelets, so I wanted to record some of the designs I have come up with through the years - some more successful than others. I’ve learned so much about the possibilities and continue to be inspired by the unlimited designs I can create with this versatile medium.

Big and bold black beads (how's that for alliteration) with an art glass focal. Large beads on Memory wire can be tricky if not weighted correctly in the design. I've learned that on a smaller wrist, the bracelet might want to "turn," causing the focal to slip to the wrong side of the wrist. Weighting the rest of the bracelet with heavier beads helps alleviate the problem.

My love of seed beads and all things small works well with Memory wire. I love stringing multiple layers and stacking smaller beads to create a variety of looks. I need a younger wrist to show off the possibilities...

Memory wire can be cut into singles, creating options for mixing and matching colors and sizes. I have always sold these as a set, but they could be sold separately as singles, providing even more possible combinations. A set can also be divided into unique small gifts.

Combining silk and beaded wire over Memory wire was labor intensive, but well worth the effort for a unique look. Adding the teardrop pearls created a focal point for the design.

Using a special piece of fabric embellished with beads would make a unique memory piece (haha pun intended) on Memory wire. I can envision using special fabric from your mother's favorite dress and embellishing the cuff with one of her favorite brooches, charms, or pendants.

Even more labor intensive...creating a hand beaded tube and fitting it over Memory wire coils was a real challenge. I wanted the design to line up in a particular way, so there was lots of trial and error happening in the process. This design also highlights my love of pearls, gold, and crystals. Never enough bling.

This post could go on forever - as I looked back over the hundreds of bracelets I have made over the years, I can remember working on every single one - but not what I had for lunch yesterday. Go figure.

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